Preventing explosions: How to safely clean up combustible dusts
A dust hazard expert describes safe ways to clean up accumulated combustible dust before it can cause an explosion in your plant. The information also summarizes National Fire Protection Association guidance on safe cleanup of combustible dusts.
Fugitive dust accumulations in bulk solids plants have fueled some of industry's most catastrophic dust explosions, including the devastating 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explosion in Georgia. In this incident, an explosion inside a conveyor initiated a pressure wave that lofted adjacent accumulated dust into a dust cloud denser than the sugar dust's minimum explosible concentration (MEC). Just milliseconds after the pressure wave, the ruptured conveyor released an explosion flame front that ignited the dust cloud. Six successive deflagrations killed 14 workers, seriously burned more than 30 others, and destroyed the building.